Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 12, 2013

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 12, 2013

On Thursday we debuted our newest feature: Lab Reports. It’s a series of in-depth country reports designed to help readers gain insight into the complex issues entailed by democratic transitions. The first set of reports will focus on Ukraine, Kenya, Burma, and Venezuela. Read our first country overview of Ukraine by Askold Krushelnycky.

We also introduced our new blogger from Libya, Mohamed Eljarh, who explains why the conventional wisdom about Libya’s impending collapse doesn’t wash.

Sulome Anderson profiles the Ultras, the group of soccer "hooligans" who have become a major political player in Egypt’s revolution.

In a reflection on the ominous murder of a leading Tunisian opposition leader, Editor Christian Caryl looks at the historical consequences of political assassinations.

Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez reports on the believers in Venezuelan religion who hope that magic can cure ailing president Hugo Chavez.

Mohamed El Dahshan deconstructs events following the brutal beating of an Egyptian protestor by police.

Endy Bayuni covers the continuing struggle against corruption in Indonesia.

And Karen Coates uses the disappearance of an activist as a prism for the lingering political mystery that is communist Laos.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

To mark Democracy Lab’s first anniversary, the Legatum Institute hosted a presentation by former Afghan finance minister Ashraf Ghani in which he discussed economic factors in post-conflict transitions. You can see it here.

Florence Martin-Kessler and Anne Poiret of The New York Times present a wry video report retracting the 12 steps toward the formation of South Sudan, the world’s newest country.

The International Business Times reports that Harvard social scientists will be using India’s recent religious mega-festival, the Maha Kumbh Mela, as a case study on chaos and logistics. Our photo of the week (above) shows a woman recovering from a stampede on Sunday that killed 36 people on their way home.  

Democracy Lab contributor Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post, argues that well-qualified alternate elites are an important precondition for countries that are embarking on democratic transitions.

Democracy Digest reports on new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s pledge to advance Venezuelan democracy.

Chatham House discusses the steps that Uganda should take to avoid the resource curse as it prepares to embrace its new oil wealth.

The International Crisis Group’s Christian Voelkel explains why the centralized peace process in Colombia ends up causing more problems than it solves.

In a new report on press freedom in Libya, Reporters without Borders warns that threats and violence against journalists have reached alarming levels.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism explores the transformation of Egyptian journalism in the wake of the revolution.